Augusta, GA (WJBF)- It’s Labor Day and many are spending time with friends and family. But because of staff shortages and the COVID surge, front line health care workers aren’t looking forward to the holiday.

Front line health care workers are locked in a battle with the coronavirus surge caused by the delta variant.

Augusta University Medical Center has so many COVID patients that ER wait times are long and they are having to divert trauma patients to other hospitals. While they are scrambling to treat patients, the burnt out medical community is dreading the holiday, knowing there will likely be a spike in cases that they cannot afford.

“It’s tough, knowing going into a holiday weekend like this, there’s a lot of people that just don’t see that reality I think. Just aren’t vaccinated, aren’t masking, and are going into a holiday weekend and they’re gonna be around their friends and family, which is awesome. Except for the fact that this delta variant is so highly transmissible. It’s so infectious,” said Dr. Max Bursey, Service Chief for Emergency Medicine & Critical Care at AUMC.

Dr. Bursey said he wishes people could see what health care workers are dealing with right now. Hospitals are having to get creative with where to put and treat patients who need to be hospitalized. He said AUMC has had to set up a makeshift ICU in the ER, because there are no beds available in their ICU.

He continued saying many healthcare workers are angry and frustrated because at this point, COVID-19 is a preventable disease. They are begging people who have not yet been vaccinated, to please go get their shot.

Dr. Bursey asks that people take precautions during this holiday weekend and all holidays until the pandemic is finally at bay.

“Please just be safe. I really encourage the vaccine, really in everybody. It’s now FDA approved. It’s the standard prevention measure for COVID. It works. And what you’re not seeing on the back end, on the medical side is the reality that were so totally over run that we can’t even take care of non COVID patients in the normal way.”